DA: State of disaster extension is meant to shield govt from accountability


The party also says the extension is meant to “strengthen government’s hold” over citizens.

(From left) The DA’s federal council chairperson Helen Zille, interim leader John Steenhuisen, interim federal chairperson Ivan Meyer and national spokesperson Solly Malatsi pictured on 17 November 2019. Picture: @Our_DA/Twitter

JOHANNESBURG – The Democratic Alliance (DA) on Wednesday again rejected an extension of the Disaster Management Act, describing it as overreach and government’s attempt to strengthen its hold over citizens

On Wednesday, Co-Operative Governance Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma announced she extended it by a month.

President Cyril Ramaphosa declared the state of disaster on 15 March 2020 in response to the global coronavirus outbreak, shortly after the first infections were detected on home soil. Various states alert levels were implemented to enforce a lockdown on the country, including suspending work besides emergency services, curfews, as well as restrictions on travel and goods for purchase.

The DA has been advocating for an end to both the lockdown and state of disaster.

Its spokesperson Solly Malatsi told Eyewitness News on Wednesday: “It is clear that this move is nothing more than an attempt to strengthen the hold of the executive on the population of the country, and to continue to evade accountability under the shield of the national State Of Disaster Act.”

The state of disaster was meant to have ended by 15 June. But the Act allows the COGTA minister to extend the state of disaster by one month at a time before it lapses by notice in the government gazette.

The DA has criticised both the extensions and lockdown measures.

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